Access Press Salutes Poetz at Awards Banquet

Tue Nov 15 2016
Cliff Poetz speaking at Charlie Smith Awards ceremony.

In its November 10 issue, Access Press salutes one of ICI’s staff in its lead article, “Charlie Smith Award winner Cliff Poetz gives call to action .” According to the article, “If Minnesota had a Mount Rushmore for pioneering self-advocates, Poetz would be one of the faces on it.” In fact, in a video about the “legendary self-advocate” that ICI’s Jerry Smith made for the awards ceremony, Poetz’s face did appear on the iconic mountain, much to the recipient’s amusement.

In his five decades of self-advocacy, he has influenced local and national policies and norms on deinstitutionalization, community-based employment, the evolution of more inclusive and respectful language, the professionalizing of the direct support workforce, and numerous other accomplishments. Yet his acceptance speech ended with a call to action. He challenged fellow self-advocates to persist in their efforts with policymakers. “I think we have come a long way, but we have a long way to go,” Poetz said. “It’s nice to go to Disability Day at the Capitol. But we need to call and have people get to know us.”